The first Conduit game gave Wii gamers exactly what they were waiting for with a solid, point-to-shoot FPS. High Voltage's game fit the bill nicely, but both the developers and gamers knew that there was so much more that could be done with the franchise and technology.
This upcoming sequel, Conduit 2, seems to work in many of the possibilities we saw in the first game, and also includes technical upgrades, like the incorporation of Wii Motion Plus capabilities.
Conduit 2 picks up right where the first game left off, story wise. I'm not sure how far our hands-on demo was into the game, but we started off by working our way through a heavily armed ship, blasting anyone that came around a corner all while taking cover behind tables and watching our backs.
While this is the only stage we saw, it did feel a bit more roomy in terms of environments, despite being in a ship. Hallways gave way to wide-open control rooms, and they were manned with well-placed enemies. It was easy to appreciate that they've worked on some smarter level design.
Later, in a separate demo section, we eventually made our way outside, and on deck where we fought an epic boss battle with a massive water beast. We were almost too busy manning turrets and to notice the lovely stormy water effects off the side of the ship.
While we expect that we'll get a better sense of story later, the improved technology in Conduit 2 was immediately noticeable. Aiming is much more smooth, and the movement control is much more tight. The feeling that this sequel is a better experience is apparent from the very first movements of your Wii Remote and Nunchuck. Some of this improvement is thanks to the included Wii Motion Plus support, which provides better tracking and pointer control.
Also improved are the visuals, which now come from a beefed up engine. We were told that this engine provides better geometry and higher quality texture maps. The combined result of all of this is a better looking, smoother-playing Conduit.
There's plenty of new weaponry to play with in this sequel. Several weapons that came from alien technology were mentioned, including one called Shield Gun. This gun sucks up all fired projectiles into one little ball and then throws them back into an enemy. A larger gun lets you use a remote control to view and aim from it while being in another place, behind cover. There will be over 20 weapons in the final version, we're told.
As with any FPS, multiplayer is an important component, and High Voltage knows this. The previous game had some issues with security, but they assure us that the code has been tightened up. Of course, there's going to be up to 12-player online modes, but you can also go at it GoldenEye style with four-player split screen!
High Voltage told us that a new multiplayer mode called Team Invasion will be featured in Conduit 2. Anywhere from two to four players can go at it together, online or locally, working through missions cooperatively. They're also bringing back full Wii Speak support for online chat.
So many people said that they enjoyed Conduit, but were hoping for a bit more. Judging from High Voltage's work on the sequel, it seems like they knew that. It also seems like they listened to some of the concerns we had from the first game.
While we only played one stage, it already feels safe to say that if you liked Conduit, you're going to find much more to like with Conduit 2. We expect to see even more polish added to the game between now and its release, which is scheduled for fall of this year.
I had ignored Spec Ops: The Line when I first heard about it, due entirely to the fact that it had Spec Ops in the title, and thus made itself sound like the world's most generic military shooter. Then I heard you could drown your enemies under tons of sand. I started paying attention.
So it has come to pass that I swung by 2K Games' booth to check out Spec Ops: The Line. I got to watch a demo run of the game in order to learn about the story, the gunfire and, of course, the tons of sand. Read on for Destructoid's initial look at this dusty shooter.
The Line is set in the near future, where Dubai has been all but abandoned thanks to a series of destructive sandstorms. In a narrative that takes its inspiration from the short story Heart of Darkness, the plot involves Captain Martin Walker and his two buddies, sent into the sand-blitzed city to track down the trecharous US army colonel John Konrad. Branching story paths leading to alternate endings are in the pipeline for a game that puts a heavy focus on narrative.
The game's foundations are rooted firmly in cover-based shooter territory, although the combat looks to be far more up close and personal as opposed to ranged potshot fighting. The gunfights are intense and fast paced, and the sundrenched Dubai makes for a unique backdrop to the violence. Better than the murky grey that infests most current generation shooters.
Of course, the sand is the star of the show, and it appears that developer Yager has really worked to make it an integral part of the gameplay. Most of Dubai is covered in the stuff, and it seems to tumble from every building orifice. Its application in combat, however, is what makes it stand out. Shooting windows to let sand into buildings, or blasting a ton of the stuff onto groups of foolish opponents lends a new sense of strategy to more familiar shooting.
In many ways, the sand feels as intertwined into the game's atmosphere as the water in BioShock does. However, BioShock's water effects were dazzling while the sand in this early stage of the game doesn't feel as breathtaking. Hopefully this is something Yager is working on as the game is still deep in development. I have a feeling the overall success of this game hinges on beautiful and ambitious sand effects. It's going to have to look better than the competition in this regard if it's to stand out.
As well as the sandy chicanery, The Line boasts a choice system. Don't worry, this isn't planned to be more moral choice buillshit, but rather a set of unique dilemmas that are based more around choosing a sensible approach to a situation rather than a "good or bad" black/white deal. I can't say at this stage whether the ambitious plan for more compelling and "grey" choices will work, but I can share the example provided with the demo and let you make your own mind up.
The demo's conclusion involves one of the game's bad guys executing civilians. One member of Walker's Delta Force wants to save them. The other urges that the situation is too dangerous and could end badly if they get involve. In this instance, the player decided to intervene and save the hostages. Unfortunately, the situation was indeed worse than anticipated and Delta Force come under a hail of gunfire. In the ensuring chaos, one of the bad guys grabs a Delta Force member and waits for Walker to turn around before shooting him in the head. A squad mate dead based on a player decision.
This one choice, for me, was very impressively pulled off, and while I maintain a healthy skepticism that such a feat can be pulled off repetitively over the course of the game, I really like the direction it's going in. So far, Spec Ops: The Line looks like it could become a surprise hit, and may well be a game that deserves more attention than it gets.
The generic name begs an emerging prejudice, but I say give it a chance and keep one eye on this game. It may turn out rather excellently.
Want to know which E3 gallery was our most popular last year? Take a wild guess. The disparity in fact was so great that one editor suggested we just forget about video games and just turn Dtoid into a porn site. The logic is sound, but then that would be another thing our day jobs would ruin for us eternally. I have to draw the line somewhere.
That said, Destructoid proudly presents a gallery of every woman in Los Angeles whose boyfriend's screenplay hasn't been picked up yet, and the 3% minority who might actually work in the business. Preposterous! When Destructoid takes over E3 we promise to have only overweight hairy men in thongs that are extremely knowledgeable about the games they are presenting. In fact, we will force the actual game developers into child-sized neon green thongs and invite you to sit on their laps. Hands-on!
Until then, here are the breasts your favorite video game companies have rented ... and some robot guy.
[Thanks to Jay Eckert for rocking Mr. Destructoid all week. Photos by: Hollie Bennett and Not Armando]
by: Chad Smith
NEWS - My post is a little late but you've still got 15 hours to decide if you want in on today's sale. It's all about Command & Conquer. Five different C&C games or expansion packs are on sale up to and including Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. The discounts range from 33% - 75% so be sure to take a look.
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We just finished viewing the Konami Press Conference, and in short, Lords of the Shadow should be best 3D implementation of a Castlevania game to date. At the end of presentation, long time producer of Castlevania series introduced the Producer from Mercury Steam working on Lords of Shadow. Little time was wasted in showing [...]
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Tron Evolution is unique in that it tells the story that lies between the 1982 film, Tron, and the upcoming 2010 film. Game director Darren Hedges tells us that he worked so close with the film makers that revealing anything plot related in the game could ruin the movie for you. It's so tied up in the films that the new movie will start exactly where this game leaves off.
The folks at Propaganda call the gameplay in Tron Evolution an "evolution" in player movement. The player movement combines arts like capoeira and parkour, and then layers disc-based combat on top of that. It sounds crazy, but it works, from what I've played.
The other half of the game gets you off your feet and onto a light cycle, which looks so stunning that I couldn't really pick out a difference between the movie trailer shots and the game. All in all, Tron Evolution impresses, and I'm not even that much of a Tron fan.
The combat segment of the game will remind you of certain games that have you scaling walls and hanging from ledges, and maybe another that has you running on rooftops. Yes, take those two games you're imagining and then put them in a dark, neon-lit setting and throw in the Tron disc for combat, and you'll be right on track.
Propaganda calls it high-mobility combat, and it definitely seems like it. With little to no effort, I was able to go nearly everywhere in the cityscape that I explored. The game slowly introduced some parkour-based platforming, dropping in things like wall running and vaulting to distant platforms as I progressed.
It wasn't too long until I was dropped into combat. Most of the fighting involves doing some kind of fancy, acrobatic jump or flip to run circles around enemies and hit them with your disc with melee attacks. This made for brawls that looked really fantastic, but were actually not much more than stringed button presses.
Different discs are at the ready, and freely switchable, letting you string moves together freely. There didn't seem to be a ton of depth to the combat, but it was certainly fun, and in some locked-down rooms, quite challenging.
As fun as the combat was, I enjoyed the light cycle racing segments quite a bit more. Having watched other game writers try the cycle parts of the game, I was concerned that there was a balance issue with the control, as I saw more collisions (into walls and other bikes' light trails) than progress. Thankfully it was the classic racing game issue where people fail to use their brake control.
The control made a lot more sense when I found out that I was speaking with Propaganda's Chris Whiteside, who previously worked on several racers, including Colin Mcrae Rally, Pro Race Driver, Toca Touring Cars, Pursuit Force and more. Knowing this, I smartly applied brake at the right times and had no problems at all.
The light cycle areas are quite lovely in high-definition, and when you get going at high speed, with all the very cinematic explosions going on in the background, the game ends up looking so much like the movie trailers that it's almost unbelievable. There's tons of crazy shit blowing up all around you, with massive timed setpieces rolling your direction, forcing you to make well-timed jumps across broken bridges and crumbled ground. For as great as the cycle parts looked and controlled, I was surprised to hear that they're only at about 60 percent complete!
Again, I'm not the biggest Tron fan. I'll admit that the trailers for the new movie look exciting, and I'll probably see it anyway. But as far as this game goes, my hands-on was enough to tell me that the game is also going to be one you'll want to check out. It's good to see that someone out there is working to make a really solid movie game.
John Carpenter, the legendary director of films such as The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13, is a fan of videogames. What is he not a fan of? The film and game industries pushing 3D on consumers.
Today, at a roundtable session where Carpenter discussed his involvement in writing the story for F.E.A.R. 3, he had the following to say about the tech everyone is parroting:
I was around for the first wave of 3D in the 1950's. In my opinion, against a lot of the industry experts who have said recently every movie will be in 3D very soon, I think it's bullshit. I don't think it will. It's a way to take more of your money. It's a way to separate you from a lot of bucks. It's cool, but it's gimmicky, I think.
Personally, I agree with Carpenter. I remember 3D movies popping up in the eighties and nineties, only to be quickly dismissed. The technology has improved, but I can't imagine it overtaking everything in the manner we're being told it will.
by: Chad Smith
NEWS - Jeremy must not have been the only person that thought Big 3 Gun Shooting was a ridiculous name. Namco Bandai has announced that the title will simply be called Time Crisis: Razing Storm. It features destructible environments and and lots of action. The title will still include Deadstorm Pirates and Time Crisis 4, providing more bang for your gaming buck. All of this will be Playstation Move compatible as previously indicated. Read on for a full rundown of the three games.
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Bulletstorm is more than just the testosterone-laden frat-boy shooter it looks like on the surface.
by: Chad Smith
NEWS - It sounds like the beginning of a joke until you hear that the man was actually Sir Richard Branson. Then you shrug and think, "I believe it." Sir Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Group) is putting his money into another endeavor: virgingaming.com.
He actually showed up to E3 in an armored truck with $1,000,000 in his hands. Every penny of that money is going to be given to players via virgingaming.com over the next 12 months. The new site allows gamers to register and compete in tournaments in the biggest triple-A titles.
Find out more details in the full press release or by going straight to the site.
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